How many of us have met someone and have been somewhat apprehensive about them initially? Then once we get to know them better, our relationship totally changes. A secular song of the 50's had a line in it that went something like this, "To know, know, know you is to love, love, love you." Very often, that is the truth. When we get to know someone, then we can truly love them. Last week I mentioned that Pat and I will soon be celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary. Thirty-one years ago when I asked her to marry me, I thought I loved her as much as I could possibly love anyone…but guess what? The more I am with her, the better I know her, and the better I know her, the more I love her. Now, you say, 'that's great preacher, but what does that have to do with anything this morning?' I am so glad you asked. This morning, we begin a 'Summer of Praise'. Our focus this summer will be upon God and His wonderful works. He is a great and glorious God! He deserves all our praise and our worship. Will you join with me over the next few weeks and seek to know God in a deeper and more personal way?
The more we know about Him, the more we will love Him for Who He is. I want us to get to know Him better today. Notice in our text:
1 Jn. 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
I. This is a declaration of the Trinity.
A. Consider what some of the great hymns of the faith teach about the Person of God.
1. Hymn #624 "Doxology"
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
2. Hymn #262 "Holy, Holy, Holy"
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons blessed Trinity!
B. Long before these hymns were written, believers were stating their beliefs in creeds.
1. A creed is a set of fundamental beliefs, a confession of faith.
2. The Athanasian Creed, probably written around AD. 450 has the most detailed statement on the Trinity of any creed.
3. Part of that statement says,
"We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance. For the Father's person is one, the Son's another, and the Holy Spirit another; but the Godhead of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is one, their glory is equal, their majesty co-eternal".
II. An Explanation of the Trinity
A. God exists in three persons, each worthy of our worship.
1. God the Father.
(John 3:16) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(John 6:27) "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
a. Scripture makes it clear that this Person is worthy of worship.
b. When the Devil promised all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if only He would worship him, Jesus responded,
"Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4:10).
2. God the Son.
a. This is none other than Jesus Christ.
b. He is the 'only begotten' Son of God.
c. As such, He is worthy of our worship.
(John 5:23) "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
d. You see there are those who claim to worship God the Father, but deny Jesus Christ as His Son.
e. But Jesus makes it very clear that you cannot worship God the Father while denying God the Son.
3. God the Holy Spirit.
a. The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the third person of the Trinity.
b. He is not some impersonal force of good in this world…He is God.
c. The Bible clearly teaches that He is a person…He has all of the attributes of a person.
d. And He is deserving of our worship.
(Rom 12:1) "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
e. Since the Holy Spirit resides in the bodies of believers this act of yielding to Him is said to be our reasonable 'service.'
f. The word 'service' carries with it the idea of worship.
g. When a believer yields his body to the Spirit's control, he is worshipping the Holy Spirit.
B. God exists in three Persons, sharing one divine nature.
1. Jesus is equal to the Father.
(John 10:30) "I and my Father are one."
a. Jesus asked those in the crowd why they intended to stone Him. v31- 32
b. Notice their reply in v33
(John 10:33) "The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
c. This passage clearly teaches that while Jesus and God the Father are two distinct Persons, they share the same divine nature.
2. Jesus, the Spirit and the Father are equal. Note: John 14:6-17
a. When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure, Thomas questioned Him concerning the 'Way'. (read v6-7)
b. Phillip then asks to see the Father. (v8)
c. Jesus explains to him that if you have seen Jesus then you have seen the Father. (v9-11)
d. Later He explains that the Comforter will come. (v16-17)
e. This passage says the Holy Spirit is a comforter of the same kind as Jesus.
f. Since Jesus shares the divine nature along with God the Father, then it is correct to say that the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus and God the Father, possess the same divine nature.
III. The Importance of the Trinity.
A. Why is believing in the Trinity important?
B. We must believe in the Trinity for at least three crucial reasons.
1. First, Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins.
a. If He was merely an imperfect created being, His sacrifice could serve only as an example to us, for He would have paid for His own sins as well.
b. Only if Jesus Christ is a member of the Godhead and, without ceasing to be divine, also human, could His death on the cross be a sacrifice for the sins of fallen man.
2. Second, according to God's Word, salvation is applied to an individual when that one has faith in Christ (John 3:16), and, more specifically, when that one believes that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God".
(John 20:31) "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
a. To believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to believe that He is a member of the Trinity.
b. It is to confess Jesus as Lord.
(Rom 10:10,13) "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
c. A person who denies that Jesus is the eternal Son of God cannot be saved!
3. Third, it is important to our spiritual growth to recognize that a divine Person indwells our bodies.
a. We have not been left as orphans or comfortless. (Jn. 14:18)
b. God's Spirit permanently indwells us, and because He is a Person.
c. He is grieved when we disobey God's Word. (Ep. 4:30)
Our response to the Biblical teaching about the Trinity should be that of worship and praise. Each member of the Trinity plays an important part in every believer's life. Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior? It isn't enough just to believe there is a God…we must know Christ personally. Christian, the more we know the Lord, the more we will love Him and desire to worship Him. God desires that we know Him in His fullness. Jesus said, "I am come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." Jn. 10:10b Let's draw near to Him now, and allow Him to bless us abundantly!